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ARTICLE ID 185425

$________ AGAINST RV MANUFACTURER ONLY – CONTRACT – BREACH OF IMPLIED, EXPRESS, LIMITED AND STATUTORY WARRANTIES – DEFECT IN LUXURY RECREATIONAL VEHICLE – EXCESSIVE WEIGHT ON FRONT SUSPENSION SYSTEM – VIOLATION OF DECEPTIVE AND UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES ACT.

Pinellas County, FL

This action was brought against the defendant manufacturer and seller (dealer) of a luxury recreational vehicle which the plaintiff purchased new for $________. The plaintiff alleged that the vehicle was defective in that it carried excessive weight over the front suspension system, reducing its cargo carrying capacity. The plaintiff claimed that a recall instituted by the manufacturer would not satisfactorily repair the vehicle. The manufacturer maintained that the plaintiff would not permit the recall which redistributed the weight placed on the front suspension of the vehicle and included other modifications which resolved any issues regarding the front suspension.

The plaintiff, a dentist from Canada, testified that he took an early retirement and in October of ________, he purchased a Blue Bird ________ LXi recreational vehicle manufactured by the defendant. The plaintiff testified that he planned to use the vehicle to tour the United States and North America with his wife.

The plaintiff’s evidence showed that the defendant manufactured a total of 58 units of the Blue Bird ________ LXi between ________ and ________. The plaintiff contended that all were defective in that excessive weight had been placed over the front suspension system. In addition to the driver and co-pilot’s weight, there was a ________-pound generator and assembly located over the front suspension, according to the plaintiff’s evidence.

The plaintiff contended that the excessive weight caused too much stress on the front tires of the vehicle and could cause dangerous tire failure or failure of essential parts, such as the tie rods. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant installed tie rods with defective metal, thereby creating a weak point in the steerage system and that the defendant was aware that the vehicles were unsafe.

The plaintiff’s evidence showed that there was an accident involving one of the units in which the tire delaminated in the fall of ________ and that there was also a second accident involving a similar tire blow out. The defense contended that there was no evidence presented that any of the tire failures were due to weight issues with the vehicle. In March of ________, the defendant undertook a recall of all 58 vehicles made, including the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff’s experts testified that the defendant did not have an effective way to cure the vehicle’s overweight condition.

The plaintiff argued that instead of installing new front suspension systems, the defendant modified the front end air suspension system, relocated the generator to the cargo bay, redesigned and relocated component parts and limited the amount of weight in any one bay of the vehicle. The plaintiff’s experts opined that the recall of the vehicle, which was rejected by the plaintiff, would have been ineffective and the vehicle would still have been defective for multiple reasons.

The plaintiff contended that he has been unable to use his vehicle and it remains parked in Georgia. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant knew that the vehicle was defective and concealed material facts concerning the defect. The plaintiff sought to revoke acceptance of the vehicle and receive a full refund of the purchase price.

The defendant dealer argued that the plaintiff had purchased the vehicle with no warranties given by the dealer as the vehicle was “SOLD AS IS EXCEPT FOR MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY” and thus, the dealership had properly and conspicuously disclaimed any alleged warranties of the dealer. The defense stressed that a disclaimer of warranties of the dealership was located in three places on the retail order for the vehicle. The Court held that the disclaimer was conspicuous as a matter of law.

The defendant manufacturer contended that the recall remedy for the vehicle included strengthening of the front end air suspension system and lessening the weight on the front end and successfully resolved the prior issues with the suspension system. The defense contended that almost all of the other vehicle owners accepted the recall remedy, but the plaintiff refused to do so. Thus, the defense contended that the plaintiff had failed to give the manufacturer an opportunity to repair the vehicle prior to his attempted revocation of acceptance.The jury found for the defendant dealership on all counts and for the plaintiff against the defendant manufacturer on all counts including revocation of acceptance ($________ in damages); breach of implied warranty ($________ in damages); breach of express warranty ($________ in damages); breach of written limited warranty ($________ in damages); breach of deceptive and unfair trade practices act ($________ in damages) and breach of statutory warranty ($________ in damages). The plaintiff is required to elect the count under which he will recover. The defendant dealership has filed a motion for attorneys’ fees and costs against the plaintiff and the plaintiff has filed a motion for attorney fees and costs against the defendant manufacturer. The plaintiff has also filed a post-trial motion for new trial as to the defendant dealership and the defendant manufacturer has filed a post-trial renewed motion for directed verdict, motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and a motion for new trial.

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